COUCH THEATER — DVD PREVIEWS

Chris Evans as Captain America

PICKS OF THE WEEK
“Captain America: The First Avenger” (PG-13) — Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) has always been a puny kid with strong principles and even stronger tenacity. When World War II breaks out and Steve is turned down by every recruiting office for being too weak, he finds his chance to fight for his country when he is selected for a top-secret experimental program that turns him into a super-soldier.

The movie does well to rise above the standard for superheroes: The Cap isn’t thirsting for revenge, he’s not even super-powered, he’s the result of the right guy finally getting a chance to make a difference. By staying true to the comic book origins, “Captain America: The First Avenger” brings different settings and themes to the table for a solid adventure with an underdog angle.

“Attack the Block” (R) — With a no-name cast and a debut director, this aliens vs. slums thriller becomes the ragtag fighting force that surprises its challengers. A handful of troublemakers from South London take up arms (improvised) and ride (on scooters and bicycles) against an alien invasion in their neighborhood.

The film is from the same producers who made “Shaun of the Dead” and “Hot Fuzz,” and it capably walks the line between adoring its tropes and offering a new comedic spin on the alien invasion. The result is a breath of fresh air, right on time in this season of heavy population density from the alien-attack genre.

“The People vs. George Lucas” (NR) — How does a true fan reconcile his love for a cherished movie with his hatred for the cash-in prequels made years later? How could somebody once seen as the savior of sci-fi suddenly become the most reviled man in geekdom? These are the questions at the heart of this plucky 2010 documentary. Using interviews, fan art and bits of pop-culture, “The People vs. George Lucas” takes a look at the bittersweet relationship between movie fans and the creator of the “Star Wars” and “Indiana Jones” franchises.

“The Conversation” (R) [Blu-Ray] — In his heyday, Francis Ford Coppola made this small-scale but intense thriller. Gene Hackman plays Harry Caul, a surveillance expert who’s been assigned to listen in on a couple as they walk the streets of San Francisco. As the plot thickens, Harry struggles to keep his personal reservations separate from his work as his own paranoia spirals out of control.

In 1975, the film was nominated for Oscars for best picture, best sound and best writing. Now on Blu-ray, the restored version of this film classic offers optimized sound and video for an even closer glimpse at the tight-focused world of surveillance.

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“Luther: Season 2”
“Robot Chicken: Season Five”
“Sacred Sites of the Dalai Lamas”
“Barney Miller: The Complete Series”
“The Best of the Three Stooges”
“The Hugh Grant Collection”

© 2011 King Features Synd., Inc.

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